May 1, 2015, 11:48 AM EDT
Here is a look at Major League Baseball with analysis from Nationals Insider Mark Zuckerman and Nationals writer Chase Hughes:
30. Brewers – Hughes: (LW: 30) Injuries have killed their lineup and their rotation may be the worst in baseball.
29. Phillies – Hughes: (LW: 29) Aaron Harang (2-2, 2.51) has been a nice surprise in an otherwise rough start to the season for the Phils.
28. Rangers – Zuckerman: (LW: 26) Who knows if Hamilton will help them. But safe to say they’ll help Hamilton way more than the Angels did.
27. Indians – Zuckerman: (LW: 24) Sophomore slump for Cy Young winner Kluber (0-3, 4.24 ERA).
26. White Sox – Zuckerman: (LW: 23) LaRoche hitting .200 with 28 strikeouts, going through a familiar April slump.
25. Twins – Zuckerman: (LW: 28) Pelfrey is only member of rotation with ERA under 4.50. That’s not gonna cut it.
24. Giants – Hughes: (LW: 27) It will be interesting to see how long the Giants stick with Ryan Vogelsong, who has a 9.31 ERA through five outings.
23. Diamondbacks – Hughes: (LW: 22) They have two of the biggest bats in the majors in Paul Goldschmidt and Mark Trumbo, but not much at all surrounding them.
22. Braves – Hughes: (LW: 14) A.J. Pierzynski is defying his age with three homers, 14 RBI and a .422 average so far at 38 years old.
21. Athletics – Zuckerman: (LW: 9) There’s an expectation that if they can just hang around for awhile, they’ll make their customary mid-summer surge.
20. Reds – Hughes: (LW: 19) Johnny Cueto (2-2, 1.95) is off to another great start. He’s going to make a lot of money next winter.
19. Blue Jays – Zuckerman: (LW: 13) Bautista, Encarnacion and Martin all hitting under .200, yet they lead the AL in runs scored?
18. Rockies – Hughes: (LW: 18) One has to wonder if the Rockies will see an opportunity in a wide open NL West this year and trade for some pitching.
17. Mariners – Zuckerman: (LW: 16) The popular surprise pick of 2015 isn’t getting nearly the kind of pitching they should be getting.
16. Marlins – Hughes: (LW: 25) Miami has won seven of eight and now host the Phillies for three games. The Nats could see a red-hot team at Nationals Park next week.
15. Padres – Hughes: (LW: 7) San Diego has lost seven of their last eight and they were just swept by the Astros. Quick, A.J. Preller, make another trade!
14. Rays – Zuckerman: (LW: 21) A good, young rotation could keep these guys more competitive than we expected.
13. Angels – Zuckerman: (LW: 17) Among the least-productive clubs in AL right now. Maybe they should’ve hung onto Hamilton a bit longer, just in case.
12. Orioles – Zuckerman: (LW: 10) Have to admire how everyone in organization has handled a week they won’t soon forget.
11. Pirates – Hughes: (LW: 11) The bottom of their rotation is a mess, but the top with Gerrit Cole (4-0, 1.76) and A.J. Burnett (0-1, 1.80) looks scary.
10. Nationals – Hughes: (LW: 8) The Nationals’ offense is starting to come together. Now it’s time for their rotation to live up to the billing.
9. Red Sox – Zuckerman: (LW: 6) World Series-caliber lineup. 90-loss-caliber rotation. They’ve got to make a move.
8. Astros – Zuckerman: (LW: 15) Feels like they’re still another year away, but maybe just maybe they’ll keep this up.
7. Cubs – Hughes: (LW: 12) Kris Bryant has looked excellent so far with 10 RBI, an .864 OPS and a .318 average. No homers, though, which is kind of ironic given he hit 43 of them in the minors last year.
6. Yankees – Zuckerman: (LW: 20) The Miller-Betances bullpen combo has been near-perfect so far.
5. Mets – Hughes: (LW: 3) The Mets have all of a sudden lost four of their last five and have three more games this weekend against the Nats. The numbers suggest they aren’t a fluke, but we’ll see.
4. Dodgers – Hughes: (LW: 5) Adrian Gonzalez has to be the early front-runner for MVP with eight home runs, 19 RBI and a 1.222 OPS.
3. Tigers – Zuckerman: (LW: 2) Pitching staff isn’t inspiring a lot of confidence right now, but that lineup can still rake.
2. Royals – Zuckerman: (LW: 1) Leading AL in batting average and OBP, second in ERA. Looking like last year was no fluke.
1. Cardinals – Hughes: (LW: 4) It’s tough to see Adam Wainwright go down, as he is one of the best pitchers in baseball. Doesn’t mean the NL should have a DH, though.
FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS
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As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
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SAT: 10:30 a.m.
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